COVID-19, stay at home and domestic violence


WHO Director-General addressed the reports from some countries of an increase in domestic violence since the COVID-19 outbreak began.

As people are asked to stay at home, the risk of intimate partner violence is likely to increase. Women in abusive relationships are more likely to be exposed to violence, as are their children, as family members spend more time in close contact, and families cope with additional stress and potential economic or job losses. Women may have less contact with family and friends who may provide support and protection from violence.

WHO calls on countries to include services for addressing domestic violence as an essential service that must continue during the COVID-19 response.

If you are experiencing or at risk of domestic violence, speak to supportive family and friends, seek support from a hotline, or seek out local services for survivors. Make a plan to protect yourself and your children any way you can. This could include having a neighbour, friend, relative, or shelter identified to go to should you need to leave the house immediately.

There is never any excuse for violence. We abhor all violence of all forms, at all times.

In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded recently by allocating $50 million for women’s shelters and sexual assault centres in Canada. In Ontario, the Attorney General has announced a special $4 million fund that will aid support services for victims of domestic abuse and violent crime. Part of the fund goes to helping the courts transition to remote operations — so the wheels of justice can keep turning.